Genevieve finished reading, and wiped a tear off her cheek.  She put the journal on her bedside table, and hugged Gwen.

            “You’re right, it is pretty scary.  It’s like Ethan thought there was someone else inside him, and that’s pretty creepy…”  She stopped suddenly, a thought occurring to her with the sudden clarity of a dark object illuminated by a sudden burst of lightning in a storm.  It was a thought that had been tantalizing her since the mountain, but it had always stayed in the darkness.  Now she had caught a glimpse of it, and she thought she knew how to see more.

            “Gwen, hand me my bag.”  She said.  Gwendolyn reached down and grabbed her duffel from the floor at the side of the bed, and hauled it up.  Evie rifled through it and pulled out a pair of denim shorts with a triumphant grin.

            She reached into the pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper.

            “What is that?”  Gwen asked.

            “I’m not sure, but I think I have an idea that it might prove something.”  Evie unfolded the paper and compared it to Ethan’s journal.  She placed the short note directly overtop of the journal page, and compared the handwriting.

Dear Everybody,

Hope and I have gone to talk.  This conversation has been a long time in coming, so I hope you’ll understand if it takes awhile.  Be back as soon as I can.

I don’t know if I can win this fight, and that frightens me, but I have to try.

There was a difference, she was sure of it.

            “Gwen, do you see a difference?”  She asked.  “Is the writing the same?”

            “It’s similar.”  Her little sister said.  “But something’s wrong with that note.”

            “That’s what I think.”  Genevieve continued to look at it.

            She picked up the journal, keeping the note on top, and looked closely. 

            “See the I’s?”  She asked.  “The way he writes them, they’re slanted differently.  The note is angled more towards the right.”

            They both peered closely at the writing, and Eve was more and more sure of it as she looked.  The note said “I can” at the end, and the journal said “I can” as well, but the note was slanted.  She was positive.

            “It’s almost like he was writing it at an angle.”  She said.  Gwen looked at her with a funny expression on her face.  Like what Eve just said had sparked a memory.

            “I have a friend at school that does that.”  Gwen said.  “Her name’s Michelle, she holds the paper funny so she can write with her left hand.”

            “What?”  Evie asked, looking away from the paper to her little sister.  She’d had another one of those lightning flashes of comprehension, and she wanted to see if she could glimpse just a little more of the idea that was beginning to dawn on her.

            “She’s left-handed, so she moves the paper so she can see what she’s writing a little better.  See, her hand gets in the way so she can’t see everything she’s writing…”  Gwen was explaining, but Eve’s face lit up with understanding. 

            She could see it all now.

On the mountain Ethan had helped Neal up, and that gesture bothered her.  She hadn’t known why, but now she realized that he had used his left hand to do it.  Ethan was right-handed.

            Once she had seen him salute the limo driver, and it had disturbed her even though it was familiar.  And then she remembered how, as kids, Ethan had offered the same salute to her every morning and every night when they were both in the bathroom to brush their teeth.  He did it with his right hand, but in the mirror it looked like his left.  He had saluted the driver in the same way with his left hand, and that’s why it seemed familiar and yet strange, because he always used his right.  It only looked like the left when it was reflected.

            “He’s left-handed.”  She whispered aloud.  Gwen stared at her as if she were stupid.

            “Ethan’s right-handed.”  She said, looking up at her big sister with her hands on her hips in mock-exasperation, as if to say that she didn’t know what she would do with all these big people that ran the world yet could sometimes seem so dumb.

            “You’re right.  Ethan is.  That’s what scares me.”  She remembered what he’d written, the words now leaping into her mind –  the other, the dark one, the tiger…  And she shivered despite the summer sun rising outside her window.

<<Previous   Next>>

Advertisements